What Is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries that carry blood to the legs, stomach, arms, and head. It is a disease caused by plaque build up causing a condition called atherosclerosis, which over time narrows the arteries, limiting oxygen-rich blood to flow to the legs and other limbs and organs, and the head.
It more commonly effects the legs, causing pain and numbness, and sometimes increases the risk of infection. If lack of blood flow becomes too severe PAD can cause tissue death (gangrene) and can lead to amputation of the limb.
Treatment for PAD Includes:
There are cases of PAD that must be treated with open vascular surgery. During a surgical procedure, a vascular surgeon at removes blockages where a long portion of an artery has narrowed to restore blood flow.
Angioplasty and Stenting
Angioplasty and stenting are two common procedures used to ‘unblock’ an artery effected by PAD:
- Angioplasty – a tiny tube (catheter) is inserted into the blocked artery. A balloon is then inflated, opening up the restricted portion of the blood vessel. If the vessel becomes blocked again, a stent can be inserted.
- Stenting – If the vessel becomes blocked again, a stent can be inserted to keep the artery open. A stent is a small metal cylinder that supports the wall of the blood vessel.